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Interdisciplinary Seminar in Empirical Social Science

2023/20242022/20232021/20222020/2021

Interdisciplinary Seminar in Empirical Social Science (ISESS) is a monthly seminar series that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in social science who are interested in comparative empirical research. It creates a unique interdisciplinary and inter-institutional forum to present work in progress and receive feedback. All meetings will be held in English.

The ISESS seminar is affiliated with the new Centre for Excellence in Social Science at the University of Warsaw, which is part of the Excellence Initiative – Research University (IDUB – a program funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education).

In the academic year 2023/24 the seminar is convened by Adam Gendźwiłł and Michał Bilewicz. The seminars take place on selected Wednesdays at 1 pm and will be held in the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies / Collegium Politicum / Room 303 (Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28).

Seminars in the academic year 2023/2024

25 Oct 2023, Aneta Piekut, University of Sheffield

Aneta Piekut, University of Sheffield

Is it worth it? Sample quality in a Facebook/Meta ad-generated survey with Polish migrants in the UK

Is it worth it? Sample quality in a Facebook/Meta ad-generated survey with Polish migrants in the UK

Migrants are considered a hard-to-reach population. It is hard to recruit them due to lack of accessible sampling frames or to recruit in a timely manner if frames are available or self-constructed. Recently, Facebook (now Meta) advertisement campaigns (ads) have become an increasingly popular method of recruiting hard-to-reach populations, including migrants, due to lower costs and time efficiency. Yet, time effective survey sampling might come with risks for sample internal and external quality (representativeness). In a study on the impacts of Covid-19 on Polish migrant essential workers in the UK we conducted an online survey using both Facebook ads and standard online convenience sampling. Over a period of four weeks in 2021, we collected 1,105 valid responses and 66% of them (735) came from a dedicated Facebook ad campaign. In this talk, I review the campaign performance over time and explore different survey quality indicators, e.g. satisficing, speeding, nonresponse, and how they correlate with survey duration. Finally, I compare the sample originating from the Facebook ads with the sample coming from the convenience recruitment (370) in terms of survey quality indicators and representativeness.

29 Nov 2023, Roland Imhoff, University of Mainz

Roland Imhoff, University of Mainz

The Psychology of Conspiracy Mentality

Despite an explosion of research on conspiracy theories and their underlying cognition and emotion particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, the field is still predominated by reports of eclectic and largely cross-sectional associations. The current talk will therefore demarcate the field and what is by now well established and firmly known, what is currently assumed but not yet solidly established, and where the field lacks reliable empirical insights. Starting from the non-trivial task of providing a definition of the phenomenon and the question whether conspiracy theories are necessarily false, I will discuss the notion of conspiracy mentality as a worldview underlying the endorsement of specific conspiracy beliefs and highlight its cognitive architecture. The typical normal distribution of conspiracy mentality measures will provide further opportunity to reflect on the often-premature characterization of conspiracy suspicions as erratic or deviant. Revisiting some of the basic assumptions and their respective evidence base, the outlook will focus on the major developmental tasks of conspiracy research in the near future.

BIO: Roland Imhoff is a professor for social and legal psychology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (since 2015). His research interests span from basic social cognition topics like comparison and categorization to intergroup relations, political attitudes like conspiracy mentality, representations of history, and indirect measures of sexual interest. He has been editor-in-chief at the European Journal of Social Psychology and currently serves the European Association as Journal Officer in the Executive Committtee and Chair of the Consortium for Social Psychological and Personality Science. He is passionate about open science, vegan cooking, fermentation and his three children.

13 Dec 2023, Magdalena Wojcieszak, University of California, Davis, University of Warsaw

Magdalena Wojcieszak, University of California, Davis, University of Warsaw

Polarization from news? Not really. Why? Most people do not consume (partisan) (hard) news.

Populism, polarization, misinformation, and wavering support for democratic norms are pressing threats to many democracies. Although the sources of these threats are multifaceted, partisan media and the online environment are often seen as the culprit. Many observers and scholars worry that partisan news exposure and digital technologies lead to extremity and intergroup hostility.

In this presentation, I address these issues in two ways. I present two projects, each combining participants’ survey self-reports and their online behavioral browsing data. First, I focus on actual online exposure to partisan news media as well as to political content wherein to test the effects of each on attitude and affective polarization. Spoiler alert: I find robust null effects. Second, to explain these effects and offer more nuance into people’s online information diets, I examine the prevalence of (1) exposure to news domains; (2) political content within these domains; and (3) political content outside these domains in Poland, the US, and the Netherlands. I end this presentation with two innovative large scale studies (a field experiment on Twitter and an over-time experiment using a browser extension for YouTube), which aimed to incentivize citizen exposure to quality and diverse news and political content.

BIO: Magdalena Wojcieszak (Ph.D. U. of Pennsylvania), is Professor of Communication, U. of California, Davis and an Associate Researcher at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, U. of Amsterdam, where she directs the ERC EXPO Grant.

Her research focuses on how people select political information in the current media environment and on the effects of these selections on democratic attitudes, cognitions, and behaviors. She also examines the effects of mass media, new information technologies, and various messages on extremity, polarization, tolerance, and perceptions. Prof. Wojcieszak’s current work aims to identify the extent of interest- and political biases in recommendation algorithms and propose principle solutions to minimize these biases, especially in the context of promoting exposure to quality news and diverse political contents online.

Prof. Wojcieszak has (co-)authored more ~70 articles in peer-reviewed journals, is the Associate Editor of Journal of Communication, and serves on editorial boards of seven peer-reviewed journals. She has received several awards for her teaching and research (including the 2016 Young Scholar Award from the International Association of Communication).
Prof. Wojcieszak is part of the Misinformation Committee at the Social Science One, first ever partnership between academic researchers and social media platforms, and of an independent research partnership between researchers and Facebook to study the impact of Facebook and Instagram on key political attitudes and behaviors during the U.S. 2020 elections.

20 Dec 2023, Monika Nalepa, University of Chicago

Monika Nalepa, University of Chicago

Incumbent and Opposition Support in Authoritarian Regimes: Survey Evidence from Late-Communist Poland

This paper analyzes two alternative explanations for attitudinal change in authoritarian regimes: the first perspective, based on Timur Kuran’s theory on preference falsification, emphasizes the importance of fear and dissimulation and argues that massive swings in public opinion can occur even in the absence of significant changes in individual preferences. The second perspective, which builds on Suzanne Lohmann’s work on informational cascades, focuses on the fact that political events can – and often do – provide important information to citizens about the “type” of both the incumbents and the opposition, which then in turn shape individual and public support for the different political camps.

We test these predictions using a unique series of eleven public opinion surveys from late-communist Poland (1985-89). Using a variety of diagnostics based on the correspondence between survey-based outcomes and official statistics, as well as the distribution of answers to sensitive political questions, we find very limited evidence of fear-based preference falsification in these surveys. We complement these diagnostics with an analysis of the link between political events of public opinion trends, and find fairly strong support in favor of the learning hypothesis, as respondents appear to use the information provided by contemporaneous political events to form/adjust their evaluations of the main political actors, much in line with Susanne Lohmann’s argument about informational cascades. In particular, authoritarian incumbents were punished for price increases and poor electoral campaigns and results but were rewarded for political liberalization measures. By comparison, we found weaker support for the type of tipping model dynamics predicted by Kuran’s framework: while political preferences did indeed shift from the incumbents to the opposition in the wake of unfavorable electoral outcomes, these changes were neither as drastic as predicted by the tipping model, nor were they limited to periods where we found evidence of new information about the distribution of societal preferences.

BIO: Monika Nalepa (PhD, Columbia University) is professor of political science at the University of Chicago. With a focus on post-communist Europe, her research interests include transitional justice, parties and legislatures, and game-theoretic approaches to comparative politics. Her first book, Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe was published in the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics Series and received the Best Book award from the Comparative Democratization section of the APSA and the Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award from the Political Organizations and Parties section of the APSA. Her next book with Cambridge University Press, published in 2022, is entitled After Authoritarianism: Transitional Justice and Democratic Stability. She has also published articles in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, the Journal of Comparative Politics, World Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Parliamentary Affairs, and Constitutional Political Economy.

Monika Nalepa is the Director of the Transitional Justice and Democratic Stability Lab, which produces the Global Transitional Justice Dataset.

24 Jan 2024, Robert Klemmensen, Lund University

Robert Klemmensen, Lund University

Genetic and Environmental Influences on the Stability of Political Attitudes

By now it is well established that political preferences are partly informed by heritable factors. In this paper we investigate the extent to which changes in preferences are equally like to be informed to genetic. We show, using a panel of Danish twins that genetics is not responsible for changes in political preferences which are best explain by individual twin experiences as well socialization.

31 Jan 2024, Daniel Bar-Tal, Tel Aviv University

Daniel Bar-Tal, Tel Aviv University

Gaza War: Antecedents, Processes and Consequences

It is assumed that the atrocities carried out by Hamas in the southern part of Israel on 7 October 2023, and the subsequent Israeli war on Gaza are going to reshape both the Israeli and the Palestinian societies, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will have a profound effect on the geopolitical structure of the Middle East. Foremost, after merely three these events have already had a great impact on the basic perceptions of the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, including in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the State of Israel. To the -ever-deepening mistrust between the two sides of the conflict, one must add the devastating psychological effect the Palestinian attack on innocent Israeli civilians (including murdering, raping and the immoral kidnapping of children, women, elderly people and soldiers) has had throughout Israel.

It goes without saying that one cannot ignore the effect of the brutal Israeli response in the bombing of Gaza, killing about 22,000 people including 7000 children and over 5000 women, injuring of over 50,000 people, a displacement of over one and half million civilians within the Gaza Strip, devastation of 70% of the homes and of most of the infrastructure in Gaza and causing severe hunger and infectious diseases.

Both societies enter in a state of trauma. For the first time in more than 75 years as a state, the most horrific word in the dictionary, “Holocaust” has become a reality for the Israeli Jews. At the same time the Palestinians are outraged because of indiscriminate bombing that killed thousands of civilians, the massive expulsion from north Gaza and the devastation. Thus, they are equally traumatized as are Jews. For Palestinians, the situation reminds them of the Nakba (disaster) of the 1948.

The talk will try to explain the terrible events, to search for they wider context, and try to predict their consequences for the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians.

BIO: Daniel Bar-Tal is Professor Emeritus at the School of Education, Tel Aviv University. His research interest is in political and social psychology studying socio-psychological foundations of intractable conflicts and peace building. His most influential theoretical contribution is the development of a systematic and holistic conception of the dynamics of interethnic bloody and lasting conflicts: how they erupt, escalate and possibly de-escalate, are resolved peacefully and even reconciled. In addition, he is an authority on the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict, suggesting a comprehensive interdisciplinary analysis of its foundation, continuation and maintenance. Recently he began to study and write about democracy and authoritarianism. He has published over twenty-five books and over two hundred and fifty articles and chapters in major social and political psychological journals, books and encyclopedias. He served as a President of the International Society of Political Psychology and received numerous awards for his academic achievements.

21 Feb 2024, Luca Varadi, Central European University

Luca Varadi, Central European University

Could it be possible? Testing the Effectiveness of Interventions against Discrimination in a Divided Society: Evidence from Hungary

Ethnic prejudice can be highly contagious and an unquestioned norm in some societies, coupled with deep ethnic divides. It appears that Hungary is such a society, where Roma people face systematic exclusion and discrimination both from public institutions and private actors.

Inspired by Paluck et al.’s review of the effectiveness of interventions against prejudice and the gap they identified regarding reliable data from field experiments testing behavioural outcomes, we conducted a series of experimental studies establishing the level of discrimination and testing the effectiveness of two types of interventions in the context of anti-Roma discrimination on the Hungarian rental housing market.

In Study 1, we tested the prevalence of discrimination of Roma people in a field experiment on an online advertising platform (N=258). In Study 2, we conducted a survey experiment among landlords (N=267) to test the effectiveness of an intervention based on a short documentary and found very promising results. In Study 3 (N=57), we have aimed to test the effectiveness of our intervention by a field-experiment but have not succeeded in reaching enough subjects. In Study 4 (N=140) we tested the effectiveness of a tool aimed at spreading the norm of antidiscrimination through a field experiment with positive results.

We discuss our findings by asking the question of how interventions can be implemented tested in the real world and how they can be translated into effective policies in normative climates that do not support the equal treatment of ethnic minorities?

BIO: Luca Varadi is a former Marie Sklodowska-Curie research fellow and Assistant Professor in the Nationalism Studies Program at Central European University. Her research focuses on ethnic prejudices and especially on the formation of prejudice in adolescence.

Luca Varadi obtained her PhD in sociology at the Humboldt University in Berlin and afterwards served as a research fellow at Humboldt University and the University of Hamburg. She wrote her dissertation about the attitudes of Hungarian teenagers towards the Roma minority that was based on a survey of 1000 students. Her book, ‘Youths Trapped in Prejudice’ was published in 2014 at Springer.

Luca Varadi graduated in 2006 from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and specialized in ethnic and minority studies. Between 2006 and 2008 she was involved in research on migration and integration and worked for the Hungarian Academy of Science’s Research Institute of Ethnic and National Minorities and for the Menedék Organisation for Migrants. In Germany, she participated in the Interdisciplinary Institute for Conflict and Violence Research’s study on Group-Focused Enmity in Europe. Currently, she is working on a longitudinal study mapping the formation of common social norms in school classes and their effect on the intergroup attitudes of teenagers. Luca Váradi also works together with teachers and NGO-s to utilise research results for school-based intervention programs against prejudice.

13 Mar 2024, Jonas Rees, Universitaet Bielefeld

Jonas Rees, Universitaet Bielefeld

From collective remembrance to collective forgetting: An empirical perspective on the current state of the German culture of memory

(no information available at the moment)

17 Apr 2024, Diliara Valeeva, University of Amsterdam

Diliara Valeeva, University of Amsterdam

Threads of Power: Exploring Corporate Networks and Their Societal Impact

(no information available at the moment)

8 May 2024, Volha Charnysh, MIT

Volha Charnysh, MIT

The Determinants of Assistance to Refugees: Evidence from Poland

(no information available at the moment)

5 Jun 2024, Damien Stewart, LaTrobe University

Damien Stewart, LaTrobe University

Social acknowledgement and posttraumatic stress symptoms in response to historical trauma in Poland

(no information available at the moment)

Interdisciplinary Seminar in Empirical Social Science (ISESS) is a monthly seminar series that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in social science who are interested in comparative empirical research. It creates a unique interdisciplinary and inter-institutional forum to present work in progress and receive feedback. All meetings will be held in English.

The ISESS seminar is affiliated with the new Centre for Excellence in Social Science at the University of Warsaw, which is part of the Excellence Initiative – Research University (IDUB – a program funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education).

In the academic year 2022/23 the seminar is convened by Natalia Letki and Dawid Walentek (Politics)  and Paweł Kaczmarczyk (OBM/WNE). The seminars are held on  last Tuesday of the month (with the exception of October and December), at 4 pm. The Seminar will be held in the Seminar Room of Centre of Excellence in Social Science, BUW Building, Dobra 56/66, Room 2.90.

To register for the Seminar and receive the Zoom invitation, please follow thislink.

Seminars in the academic year 2022/2023

October 25, 2022, Anna Matysiak, Faculty of Economics, University of Warsaw

Anna Matysiak, Faculty of Economics, University of Warsaw

(no information available at the moment)

November 29, 2022, Matteo Cinelli, Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’Foscari University of Venice

Matteo Cinelli, Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’Foscari University of Venice

(no information available at the moment)

December 20, 2022 Adam Gendźwiłł, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw

Adam Gendźwiłł, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw

(no information available at the moment)

January 24, 2023 Esme Bosma, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam

Esme Bosma, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam

(no information available at the moment)

February 28, 2023 Tarik Abou-Chadi, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Tarik Abou-Chadi, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

(no information available at the moment)

March 28, 2023 Theresa Kuhn, European Studies Department, University of Amsterdam

Theresa Kuhn, European Studies Department, University of Amsterdam

Rebordering Europe: A Difference-in-difference analysis of the effect of intra-EU border closures on EU support during the COVID-19 lockdowns

(w/ Lisa Herbig, Heike Kluever, Toni Rodon, Irene Rodriguez Lopez and Asli Unan)

A large body of research shows that Europeans who regularly interact across borders are also more supportive of European integration. Citizens cherish free movement across the EU, and cross-border interactions are also expected to increase EU support and European identity in the long term. However, extant research cannot establish whether transactions indeed lead to attitude change or simply are correlated with higher EU support. The sudden and unexpected closures of intra-EU borders in the COVID-19 lockdowns represent an unprecedented possibility to empirically test the causal effect of transnational interactions on political attitudes. We expect that the decrease in European cross-border mobility during the pandemic decreased EU support and European identity. We use difference-in-difference designs that exploits variation in the closing of Germany’s borders with neighboring countries across regions and over time to estimate the causal effect of closed borders. We rely on data on COVID-19-related mobility restrictions and border controls by the Oxford Government Response Tracker (2020) and survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to estimate the short-term and long-term effect on citizens’ EU support.

April 25, 2023 Saskia Bonjour, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam

Saskia Bonjour, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam

Strange(r) Families – Contesting the ‘Family’ and the ‘Nation’ in Migration Law

Families which include ‘strangers’ – i.e. non-citizens – require state permission to live together in Europe. For families which are considered ‘strange’ – deviant from the dominant norm – such state permission is not self-evident: queer/same-sex families or polygamous families are commonly denied family migration rights. This paper explores which kinds of families are seen to belong in Europe. These politics of belonging are intrinsically connected to the politics of intimacy. Feminist students of nationalism and empire have shown that from colonial times to the present day, defining collective identities and boundaries – be they cultural, racial, or national – inevitably involves reference to proper roles of men and women, proper dress, proper parenting, proper loving, and proper sex. Distinctions between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ are most fundamentally drawn in the intimate sphere – between those who love, have sex, marry, and raise their children ‘properly’ (like ‘we’ do it) and those who do not. One of the key arenas where what counts as ‘family’ for migration control purposes may be contested is the courts, and the key actors who may do so are lawyers. Based on interviews with lawyers specialized in Dutch family migration law, we seek to identify where the contested boundaries of the ‘family’ and the ‘nation’ lie, and how these boundaries are (de)legitimated.

May 16, 2023 Ulf Liebe, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick

Ulf Liebe, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick

Explaining Re-migration Preferences: Evidence from Discrete Choice Experiments in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan

There is limited evidence and coherent theory building on re-migration decisions of returnees in low-income countries. Various factors have been proposed but largely assessed in isolation. A unified theoretical and methodological framework can help to assess the relative importance of individual factors and understand causal mechanisms. We examine an extended model of re-migration preferences based on the theoretical model proposed by Todaro & Maruszko (TM model) (1987). We derive hypotheses and test them using Discrete Choice Experiments based on samples of (irregular) migrants returning to Ethiopia (n=613), Somalia (n=233), and Sudan (n=327). We find that the TM model provides a flexible and powerful approach to explaining variation in re-migration preferences.

May 30, 2023 Bob Andersen, Departments of Sociology, Political Science, and Statistics and Actuarial Science, Ivey Business School

Bob Andersen, Departments of Sociology, Political Science, and Statistics and Actuarial Science, Ivey Business School

Trust in Business in Cross-National perspective: The role of economic inequality

This paper explores relative trust in business and labour. Employing mixed models and country-fixed effects models fitted to World Values Survey data on 212,147 individuals nested within 85 and national statistics, we assess three main research questions: 1) How does relative position in income distribution affect support for business and unions? 2) In which ways do national prosperity and inequality affect trust? Do income, inequality and economic prosperity interact to affect trust? We find that inequality has little impact when GDP high. In such cases, trust in business is relatively high regardless of one’s position in the income distribution. For poor countries, however, trust is relatively low and both individual income and country level income inequality have a positive relationship with trust in business. Put another way, the lowest income earners in the least equal countries have far greater trust in labour unions than they do in corporations.

Interdisciplinary Seminar in Empirical Social Science (ISESS) is a monthly seminar series that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in social science who are interested in comparative empirical research. It creates a unique interdisciplinary and inter-institutional forum to present work in progress and receive feedback. All meetings will be held in English.

The ISESS seminar is affiliated with the new Centre for Excellence in Social Science at the University of Warsaw, which is part of the Excellence Initiative – Research University (IDUB – a program funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education).

In the academic year 2021/22 the seminar was convened by Natalia Letki and Dawid Walentek (Politics) and Paweł Kaczmarczyk (OBM/WNE).

Seminars in the academic year 2021/2022

  • October 2021, Peter Dinesen, University of Copenhagen
  • November 2021, Monika Sus, Hertie School of Governance, Polish Academy of Sciences, European University Institute
  • December 2021, Paweł Bukowski, London School of Economics & Polish Academy of Sciences
  • January 2022, Radosław Kossakowski, University of Gdańsk
  • February 2022, Natalie Welfens, Centre of Fundamental Rights, Hertie School of Governance
  • March 2022, Jan Brzozowski, CASPAR, Kraków University of Economics
  • April 2022 (cancelled)
  • May 2022, Martin Piotrowski, University of Oklahoma & Paweł S Strzelecki, SGH Warsaw School of Economics
  • June 2022, Natalia Letki & Dawid Walentek, University of Warsaw

Interdisciplinary Seminar in Empirical Social Science (ISESS) is a monthly seminar series that brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in social science who are interested in comparative empirical research. It creates a unique interdisciplinary and inter-institutional forum to present work in progress and receive feedback. All meetings will be held in English.

The ISESS seminar is affiliated with the new Centre for Excellence in Social Science at the University of Warsaw, which is part of the Excellence Initiative – Research University (IDUB – a program funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education).

In the academic year 2020/21 the seminar was convened by Natalia Letki and Dawid Walentek (Politics) and Maciej A. Górecki (Psychology).

Seminars in the academic year 2020/2021

  • 26 January, Michał Bilewicz, Department of Psychology, University of Warsaw
  • 23 February, Katarzyna Jaśko, Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University
  • 30 March, Joshua K. Dubrow, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • 27 April, Paulina Pospieszna, Department of Political Science and Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
  • 25 May, Maciej A. Górecki, Department of Psychologcy, University of Warsaw & Michał Pierzgalski, Department of Political Science, Łódź University
  • 29 June, Mateusz Wiliński, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Jarosław Klamut, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw; Tomasz Raducha, IFISC, Campus Universitat de les Illes Balears; Paul Bouman, Econometric Institute, Erasmus Unviersity Rotterdam; Roger Cremades, GERICS – Climate Service Center Germany